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Assessing the Variability of Heavy Rainfall during October to December Rainfall Season in Tanzania

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Document pages: 17 pages

Abstract: Heavy rainfall is one of the primary causes of flood during rainy season in Tanzania leading to severe socio-economic impacts. The study aimed at assessing and characterizing the variability of Heavy Rainfall Events (HREs) using Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF), Mann-Kendal (MK) trend test, Correlation and Composite analysis methods. Based on the daily-observed precipitation and reanalysis data sets for the October to December (OND) rainfall season of 35 years (1981-2015), the spatial and temporal characteristics of HREs in Tanzania are studied. The relationship between heavy rainfall (HR) and large-scale circulation anomalies including the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) and El Niño southern oscillation (ENSO) indices was assessed. The study found that, approximately 590 HREs were concentrated over northern sector and coastal belt of Tanzania. The monthly variability indicates that HREs are more pronounced in December followed by November while October being the least affected. The occurrence of HREs over the Lake Victoria, Kigoma and Tabora is largely attributed to low-level convergence of westerlies and enhanced moisture from Congo basin accompanied by a pronounced rising limb of Indian Walker circulation cell. A time-series analysis of HRE exhibits an inter-annual variation characterized by a slightly increasing trend, though the computed trends were not statistically significant at 95 confidence level. In most part of Tanzania HREs were positively correlated with both ENSO and IOD indices, underscoring the critical role of ENSO and Indian Ocean dynamic in modulating rainfall variability over the region. In general, it has been found that most of the HREs are generally triggered or amplified by large-scale circulation patterns such as ENSO and IOD.

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